You’ve probably heard this cliche a million times … but here’s how to truly make it work for you.
I dragged out my cobwebby old sewing machine the other day to make some curtains — about the simplest project there is. I was halfway down a seam when the thing started making a screeching noise loud enough to wake up both kids (which would have been catastrophic) and ground to a halt. It wasn’t smoking, but I figured if I pushed it any farther, something was going to melt, maybe explode.
I stood up to call my husband. He was out working on the car. Machines are his domain, right? Then, uncharacteristically, I stopped. I thought, “Hang on, I bet this just needs oil. Let me at least have a look.” I flipped the thing over, dug up a screwdriver, used an old paintbrush to oil whatever moving parts I could reach — and miracles of miracles, suddenly it was working! That’s when I realized that as embarrassing as it might be, “believe in yourself” was going to be my new mantra.
Since then, whenever I run up against something intimidating, it’s what I tell myself. A huge portion of my life scares the heck out of me, so it’s been a big deal. When I’m having an argument, and I’m tempted to quit trying to explain myself, and back down? I think Believe in yourself! When I’m tearing out my hair because I keep yelling at my son, and I’m about to stick him in front of the TV, instead of making one more effort? Believe in yourself, girl.
I know that believing in yourself doesn’t guarantee success, but the phrase does remind me that success is possible — and that it’s worth a try. In that way, it’s giving me more hope. After all, if I don’t even think it’s worth trying, I’m never going to make progress.
More than hope, though, believing in myself is reminding me to be brave. Yes, I might fail. I might mess up the sewing machine, I might end up looking stupid, I might lose my temper one more time, in spite of all those good intentions. Failure is really, really scary. But then, courage doesn’t mean not being scared — it means not letting your fear stop you from doing what you need to do.
Having a quick phrase that sums up an important idea is incredibly helpful. There’s a reason that recovering alcoholics use all those pithy slogans. With a little practice, they pop up in your mind just in time to help, when you’re faced with an important choice. So when I’m tempted to give up before I even begin, that’s when I’m glad to have the phrase in my arsenal. It might be a cliche, but its the short, sweet reminder that I can push past my fear and make an attempt.
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